Destitute Diaries: Clothing

Last week  in Destitute Diaries, we discussed how to prepare an inexpensive Thanksgiving feast as a college student who is low-income. This week, it’s how to afford inexpensive clothing. We can’t just go to college naked, but the goal in the end after graduating is to be able to sit naked on a cold surface you own while drinking your morning coffee reflecting on all of your financial collegiate endeavors.

Food banks: Some food banks such as Foothills offer clothing to their visitors every two weeks and it’s not that bad. Every two weeks you can pick out two full outfits. The clothing selection might not be the best, but if you’re style savvy you can work something out. If you’re also wondering about the “health” of the actual garment itself, ask those who host the food bank if they wash their clothes before displaying them on their racks.

Thrift stores, at a corporate level: Thrift stores also have good options on clothes as well. Corporate thrift stores are easier to find and are usually the go-to place for a lot of individuals to donate clothes to, so you might find a lot of neat pieces but the problem is is that they won’t last long. Location is everything! If you want more modern clothes, go to places where the cities or scenery is more modern. You wouldn’t go to Sandy, Oregon, and expect to find Portland fashion. In addition, if you have clothes and are feeling generous, you can donate your extra clothes to different Goodwill drop-offs. The workers at the drop-offs will give you a slip that you can use for your taxes to receive more money when that holy day comes.

Local thrift shops: Local thrift shops are just as good as corporate. They’re cheaper and usually have a strange hipster following, so you will find nice modern clothes. Some stores such as Plato’s Closet near the Harmony campus also appeal to more modern fashion pieces, but again they also sell out quick for that very reason. Another reason to shop at local thrift shops is to be able to help your community as a lot of local stores devote their profits to different causes or organizations like drug abuse, homeless shelters, etc. It’s getting close to the holiday season, so don’t let your heart and soul be “low-income” – just a reminder. Finally, these thrift stores are likely to be cheaper because there are actual people deciding the worth of the clothes you are purchasing. With corporate stores, the prices vary and are less likely to be changed as often. With local thrift stores, someone actually is in charge of the place and can actively change everything at any time.

Separate your work clothes: If you work food industry or just about any job where there’s high temperatures and physical labor, make sure you separate those clothes from your daily clothes. Your daily clothes will last longer and remain clean. No amount of laundry detergent, bleach, softener or dryer sheets will get rid of the coats of hamburger grease. Also if you’re a person who tends to sleep in their work clothes for whatever reason (I get it, we all get tired) you need to stop your heathen actions right now. I don’t care if you sleep naked on your bedsheets, that is your privacy, but do not curse your rest space with the scent of your workplace.

Cougar Cave: As mentioned in other Destitute Diaries pieces, the Cougar Cave also has free clothes for individuals to have for interviews and regular day to day use. The clothes in there are all gently used and appear to be in good condition.

Liquidation sales: Liquidation sales are very good examples of getting nice unused clothes for cheap. Everything is at a regular price in the beginning, but slowly the prices will go down and you’re buying Everlast leggings that are usually $24 for $6! The Sears at the Washington Square Mall is currently under liquidation before they close, so it’s highly recommended that you get on those deals as soon as possible.

Winter is coming up, things are getting wet and the seasonal depression is kicking in – treat yourself without guilt. Remember you can look nice and because we are low-income doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the nicer things or make sure we don’t look like a mess in public. With all that being said, happy holidays!

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Summer Barraza